Metastasis is a characteristic of malignant tumors and may be a fatal clinical factor for many patients with cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells are highly metastatic; the mechanism of metastasis is complicated and may be influenced by a number of factors. Membrane proteins may block receptors or inhibit important enzymes, thus inhibiting tumor progression, and may be potential therapeutic targets for tumor prognosis and treatment. The present study aimed to use proteomics to analyze the dynamic changes of membrane proteins in HCC cells, to improve our understanding of membrane protein functions and to clarify the important components of the mechanisms of HCC metastasis. The present study used the highly metastatic MHCC97-H and the lowly metastatic MHCC97-L HCC cell lines, and the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) approach was used for high-throughput screening of metastasis-related membrane proteins. A total of 22 membrane proteins were identified as differentially expressed between the MHCC97-H and MHCC97-L cell lines; these results were verified by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting. A number of the identified proteins were revealed to be related to tumor metastasis, including the tetraspan in transmembrane protein CD9. CD9 was demonstrated to be highly expressed in MHCC97-H cells compared with MHCC97-L cells. The functional role of CD9 was characterized by inhibiting its expression using a small interfering RNAs, which demonstrated that reduced CD9 expression inhibited cell migration and metastasis, as determined by wound-healing and invasion assays. Results from the present study demonstrated that CD9 was highly expressed in the highly metastatic HCC cells and promoted HCC cell migration. This protein may be a novel target for regulating the invasive phenotype in HCC.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Isotope tags for relative and absolute quantitation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research